Free Will Baptist North American Ministries (NAM) and Welch College have entered a church planting partnership, according to NAM general director David Crowe and Welch College president Matt Pinson.

NAM and Welch have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that identifies parameters of a partnership for the training of college students in church planting.

“A unique opportunity has arisen for these two departments to partner together for training college students in church planting and ministry,” Crowe said. “This opportunity comes through the planting of a new church in the Gallatin, Tennessee, area that will birth as an autonomous, self-sustaining Free Will Baptist church.”

The new church will be planted by Jesse Owens, who will be designated as Associate Church Planter by NAM. “North American Ministries will provide an account to collect money raised by the church for start-up expenses, promotion expenses, and any other non-salary related expenses,” Crowe explained. The church plant, which will remain autonomous from both NAM and Welch, will provide a bi-vocational salary for Owens, who will also be landscaping manager and adjunct instructor at Welch.

“We’re excited about this opportunity for Welch to partner with North American Ministries to provide church planting training for our ministerial students,” said Pinson. “And we’re thankful to Jesse Owens for the opportunity to allow Welch and NAM to utilize this new church plant as a way to provide training and internship opportunities in church planting for Welch students.”

“Jesse began talking with me and [Welch campus pastor] Matthew McAffee a long time ago about being part of a core group to plant a self-sustaining church in Gallatin, since the college will be moving there next year,” Pinson explained.

NAM Director of Church Planting Brad Ransom said, “This is a win-win situation for both NAM and Welch. It allows us to help plant a church in Gallatin, where Welch is moving, and at the same time provide a laboratory for training Welch students for real-world church planting across North America.”

Owens said, “I’m honored for our church plant to be an integral part of this strategic partnership between NAM and Welch College. Tiffany and I are excited about the opportunity to mentor young people who want to be involved in church planting.”

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